Bonfire Night Firework Displays in West Essex

Sparklers at the ready! It’s that time of year again where we brave the cold and get our best oohs and aaahs ready to admire the fireworks. I used to love fireworks night when I was a kid and I can’t wait to create similar lovely memories for my little ones. Here are some bonfire night and firework displays in Loughton, Abridge, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey and North and East London.

fireworks

FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER

NORTH WEALD AIRFIELD

The Fireworks Party will be feature a hog roast and other hot food, a licensed bar and disco at The Squadron. There’ll be a traditional bonfire and weather permitting there will also be tethered hot air balloons as well as the fireworks display.

Time: Gates open at 5pm
Tickets & booking info: £2 per person, tickets available to buy in advance from The Squadron and you can also pay on the gate.
Address: North Weal Airfield, Merlin Way, North Weald CM16 6HR
Further information: North Weald Facebook page

FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER & SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER

ALEXANDRA PALACE FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

Fireworks display set against the backdrop of a view of London with a laser show. The giant bonfire is on the lower field and there’s also ice skating sessions available throughout the festival. The family area will have rides, stalls, family-orientated food and drink plus facepainting for the little ones.

There’ll also be a German beer festival with live music and DJs, a Day of the Dead Parade on each day (Friday at 6.45, Saturday at 5.45). There’ll be food from over 40 of London’s street food vans and multiple bars.

Time: Friday gates 4pm, laser show starts 8.35pm and fireworks at 9pm. Saturday gates 3pm, laser show starts at 7.35pm and fireworks at 8pm.
Tickets & booking info: £11 adults, £8.50 child, family tickets available. Tickets available online here
Address: Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
Further information: Alexandra Palace website

SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER

ST JOHN’S CHURCH, LOUGHTON

Capacity is limited for this popular display so while tickets are available on the door, it is recommended to book tickets in advance. Refreshments are available during the interval, no parking is available on site and sparklers are not allowed

Time: Gates open 6pm, bonfire 6.45pm, fireworks 7pm
Tickets & booking info: £6 adults, £3 children, £15 family (2 adults & up to 3 children). Tickets available on the door, from parish office or from church hall on the day from 10am – 1pm.
Address: St John’s Church, Church Lane, Loughton IG10 1PD
Further information: 020 8532 0060 admin@loughtonchurch.org.uk

WOOLSTON MANOR, CHIGWELL

As well as a firework display set to music there will be live singers and a DJ. Food will be available from a BBQ and there will be a bar and a photo booth, face painting and a sweetie stall.

Time: From 6pm, fireworks display 7.30pm
Tickets & booking info: £10 adults, £5 children, tickets available on the door or buy in advance online
Address: Woolston Manor, Abridge Roadg, Chigwell, IG7 6BX
Further information: Woolston Manor website

SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER & SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER

ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS

Celebrate bonfire night over the weekend with The Guy Fawkes Experience, theatre performances, science shows and 17th Century characters, a funfair and a firework display.

Time: Guy Fawkes Experience from 2pm, fireworks display 7pm, last entry 6.30pm
Tickets & booking info: Adult £9.75, £7.75 child (3-15), free under 3s. Pre-booking advised
Address: Royal Gunpowder Mills, Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1JY
Further information: www.royalgunpowdermills.com

SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER

ABRIDGE VILLAGE HALL FIELD

Claiming to be the biggest firework and bonfire event in the area, there’s a Guy Fawkes competition and the ceremonial burning of the guys on the bonfire. There will also be a funfair, bar and various food and drinks stalls opening during the evening. All the profits go to local charities and organisations.

You can make a Guy and enter it into the competition, there are 3 cash prizes up for grabs. Just bring it along on the night by 6.00pm ready for the judging at 6.15pm.

Time: Gates and funfair open at 4:00pm with the fireworks display starting at 7.30pm. The guys will be placed on the bonfire at 6.45pm, which will be lit at 7.00pm.
Tickets & booking info: On the gate prices are £5 Adults and Kids £3. Tickets can be purchased in advance, call 07958 535 971 to order your tickets
Address: Abridge Village Hall field, Ongar Road, Abridge, RM4 1UH
Further information: http://www.abridgefireworks.co.uk

VICTORIA PARK HACKNEY

This year the theme for the annual fireworks display at Victoria Park is the Great Fire of London. This is a hugely popular display with an estimated 75, 000 people attending last year.

Time: Food & drinks available from 6pm, fireworks display starts at 7pm
Tickets & booking info: No tickets needed and the event is free.
Address: Victoria Park, E3 -the display will be on the eastern side of Victoria Park, with main entrances along Grove Road.
Further information: Tower Hamlets website

 

What’s on in October half term in West Essex: 22 – 30 OCTOBER 2016

The mornings are chilly, the orange leaves are crunching underfoot  which means autumn is here and Halloween is just round the corner. So if you’re wondering what’s on, here’s some inspiration for activities and local things to do with the kids in Woodford, Wanstead, Ilford, Stratford and East London during half term.

SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER

PUMPKIN PLOD, HAVEN’S HOUSE WOODFORD

Children dressed as pumpkins for Haven House Pumpkin Plod Halloween

Photo via Haven House

A family sponsored 2k or 5k forest walk starting at Haven’s House Children’s Hospice. Children are encouraged to dress up as pumpkins and receive a pumpkin themed goody bag on arrival. During the warm up there’ll be face painting and refreshments for sale including Bailey’s hot chocolate for the adults. Then the forest walk sets off at 3pm with trick or treats in grunge tanks along the way with a BBQ at the hospice when the walk is completed. Children will receive a shiny medal and their very own pumpkin to take home.

Time: 2PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: Book in advance online at the Haven House website and start raising money. Child (under 16) £5, Adults (over 16) £8, Family (2 x adults, 2 children) £22 and under 2s are free.
Address: Haven House Children’s Hospice, The White House, Woodford Green, IG8 9LB
Further information: Haven House website

ALL WEEK: MONDAY 24 – SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER

BOARD GAME FUN, V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD BETHNAL GREEN

To celebrate their new exhibition Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered there’s a week of drop-in board game fun. There’s collage workshops, board game design workshops and a giant board game where you become one of the pieces. See the V&A website for details of individual activities

Time: 11AM – 4PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: prices vary according to activity, details on the website but most are drop-in so no need to book
Address: V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9PA
Further information: V&A Museum of Childhood website

ALL WEEK: MONDAY 24 – FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER

READY STEADY GO! THE DRIVING SCHOOL WITH A LINE ART, DISCOVER CENTRE STRATFORD

Visit the driving school, grab your toolkit, choose your car, colour and drive. An immersive theatre show for 3-9 year olds and their families.

Time: 11AM, 12.30PM & 2.30PM
Age: 3-9 years old
Tickets & booking info: Included in the price of your Day Pass to Discover (£6.50 per person, £22 family of four). This event has limited capacity so pre-booking is essential.
Address: Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ
Further information: Discover Centre website

MONDAY 24 OCTOBER

SPOOKY SPIDERS, WEBS & MASKS, VALENTINE’S MANSION ILFORD

Get creative and make spooky spiders, webs and masks to get you ready for Halloween.

Time: 11.30AM – 12.30PM
Age: 4 years and over
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentine’s Box office
Address: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA
Further information: Valentine’s Mansion website

TUESDAY 25 OCTOBER

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, VALENTINE’S MANSION ILFORD
Meet Vincent the Siberian Fox, Squirt the Skunk and their lovable friends at this fantastic event. You will learn all about the animals, have the chance to pet them all and make a mask of your favourite species to take home with you.

Time: 11.30AM – 1PM & 12.30PM – 2PM
Age: 3 years and over
Tickets & booking info: £10 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentine’s Box office
Address: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA
Further information: Valentine’s Mansion website

SAIL AWAY TO INDIA, REDBRIDGE MUSEUM

This event for the under 5s has storytelling, rhymes and crafts

Time: 10.30AM-MIDDAY
Age: 2-5 years
Tickets & booking info: £1.50 per child, free for parents and carers. Book in person at the Museum 2nd floor or http://www.thelittleboxoffice.com/vision. Or call 0208 708 2317
Address: Redbridge Museum, Gloucester Room, Clements Rd, Ilford IG1 1EA
Further information: Redbridge website

WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER

HAUNTED HAPPENINGS IN A MANSION, VALENTINE’S MANSION ILFORD
Three superbly written and performed stories especially developed for Valentines Mansion by John Kirk. performing at his most spookiest in Valentines Mansion. Come dressed up in your scariest outfits.

Time: 2PM – 3PM
Age: 4 years and over
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentine’s Box office
Address: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA
Further information: Valentine’s Mansion website

IN THE GHOSTLY GARDENS, VALENTINE’S MANSION ILFORD
Join storyteller John Kirk for a performance of haunting tales of ghostly happenings in the gardens! Please note this is outdoor, suitable attire is recommended to compliment weather conditions at the time. In extreme weather conditions, the performance will be inside the Mansion. Come dressed up in your scariest outfits!

Time: 4.30PM – 5.30PM
Age: 4 years and over
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child, pre-booking essential via Valentine’s Box office
Address: Valentine’s Mansion and Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA
Further information: Valentine’s Mansion website

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN SPECIAL, WANSTEAD COMMUNITY ALLOTMENTS

A day of activities for all the family including Halloween healthy eating tips and tricks,  pumpkin snack making, arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, spooky allotment plant workshop and change for life 10 min shake up special!

Time: 1.30PM – 4PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: Free
Address: Wanstead Community Allotments, Nutter Lane, Wanstead E11 2JA
Further information: Contact Healthy Eating Team on 020 8822 4142 or email nem-tr.eatwell@nhs.net or visit the Redbridge website 

FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER

PUMPKIN CARVING, THE VIEW EPPING FOREST CHINGFORD

A day of pumpkin carvings from Jack-o-lanterns to spooky faces at The View centre on the edge of Epping Forest. There will be hot and cold drinks will be available to buy.

Time: 12PM – 2PM or 2PM – 4PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: £5 includes pumpkin and tea light, £2 non-carver for accompanying adults, you can book in person or via the Eventbrite website
Address: The View Courtyard, 6 Rangers Road, Chingford E4 7QH
Further information: Call The View reception on 020 7332 1911 or visit the website

PUMPKIN & HALLOWEEN FUN DAY, ASHLYN’S FARM

Spooky fun at the farm with pumpkin carving, witch hunt, tractor rooms & BBQ (weather permitting).

Time: 10AM- 4PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: No need to book, normal farm park admission fees apply which includes tractor ride and witch hunt. Farm park fees £3 children, £4 adults – find more detailed price list online.
Address: Ashlyn’s Farm, Epping Road, Epping, Essex CM16 6RZ
Further information: Ashlyn’s Farm website

SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER

HAINAULT FOREST SPOOKY LANTERN FESTIVAL

One of the Woodland Trust’s most popular events! There is a blood trail to follow, spooky stories, monsters and a zombie zone… all whilst the sun hides in fear behind the ancient trees before silently slipping below the horizon.

Fancy dress is encouraged but wear suitable clothing for the weather conditions for late October!

Time: 6PM-7PM & 8PM-9PM (You can arrive and follow the trail at any time within your booked ticket time slot.)
Age: All ages (If you have young children, please be aware that the walks are aimed to be scary but fun. The earlier time slot will be less scary than the later one.)
Tickets & booking info: £3 per person,  booking essential and payment will be taken on arrival at the event. To book visit the Woodland Trust event page
Address: Hainault Forest Country Park, Lambourne Rd, Chigwell, IG7 6EZ
Further information: Visit the Woodland Trust event page or contact centralevents@woodlandtrust.org.uk or 0330 333 5302

SATURDAY 29 & SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER

A HORRID HENRY HALLOWEEN, DISCOVER STORY CENTRE STRATFORD

Meet Horrid Henry for an extra-spooky Halloween, and see if you can impress him (and our Story Builders) with your scariest jokes.

Time: 12.30PM & 2.30PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: Included in the price of your Day Pass to Discover (£6.50 per person, £22 family of four). This event has limited capacity so pre-booking is essential.
Address: Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ
Further information: Discover Centre website

No.2 has arrived…

Apologies for the lack of posts and updates but at the beginning of June, no.2 arrived and has been giving joy and stealing sleep ever since.

2016-07-08 20.16.28

We are totally in love and totally exhausted. And trying to remind ourselves to hang in there. Repeat after me. It. does. get. easier.

And when this feels hard to believe, pour another glass of wine.

What’s on in May half term in West Essex: 30 May – 3 June 2016

It finally feels like summer is here,  at least most of the time, so let’s hope the warm weather sticks around for half term. Make the most of warmer days by taking the kids out and about to these local activities in Stratford, High Beech, Waltham Abbey and more as well as children’s events in London.

ALL WEEK: MONDAY – FRIDAY

MOVING MUSEUM, V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD BETHNAL GREEN

There are lots of free, daily drop-in activities available as well as a series of artist-led workshops. The focus for the week is on moving toys such as wind-up robots, toy cars and string puppets. At 1PM each day, the team from Primo Toys present Cubetto, a playful wooden robot for girls and boys aged 3 and up, powered by the first programming language you can touch. There’s a Crazy Jumping Jacks Workshop, four times a day with artist Laura X Carle who will help you turn your fantasy creature into a classic children’s moving toy – the jointed jumping jack! There are also daily Speaking Sculpture workshops with digital maker Paul Clifford, where you can see and learn how he makes your sculptures create noises with simple wires, circuits and tools.

Time: Open each day 10.30AM – 5.45PM, activity times vary.
Age: Various, depending on activity so check the V&A Museum website
Tickets & booking info: General admission free, some activities have a charge and require booking. See V&A museum website for further details.
Address: V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9PA
Further information: V&A museum website

SPY KIDS, ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS WALTHAM ABBEY

A daily Spy Academy where you can learn the arts of espionage: fingerprinting, breaking codes, night v ision training, speed and agility, rocket launching and many other Secret Agent challenges!  Spy Kids go on secret missions and a bomb locating challenge and help Professor Nitrate keep top secret information hush hush!  The Mad Lab is the main Spy Academy training camp, so get ready for some surprises.

Along with the Spy Kids the usual activities will be open and include land-train tours around the historic site with guides, a Wildlife Tower, an Armoury, interactive exhibitions, Airsoft, crazy contraptions, family crafts and plentiful hard and grass playspace.

Time: Open daily 10AM – 5PM (last entry 3PM)
Age: All ages from 3 upwards
Tickets & booking info: Under 3s free, Children 3 – 15 years £7.75, adults £9.75. Book on the Gunpowder Mills website.
Address: Royal Gunpowder Mills, Beaulieu Drive, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1JY
Further information: Royal Gunpowder Mills website

BRAINIAC LOVE! UDDERBELLY AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE

Brainiac Live at Southbank Centre

Strap on your safety goggles, boys and girls…Science’s most volatile live show is returning with a vengeance. Based on the multi-award winning TV show, Brainiac Live! is back in London. More mischievous than ever before, Brainiac Live! takes you on a breathless ride through the wild world of the weird and wonderful.

Time:  1PM & 3.30PM
Age: Suitable for children age 7 and over
Tickets & booking info: £17.50, Sirloin seats £22.50, Family ticket (for four people) £60 (available weekdays only). Book on the South Bank Centre website.
Address: Udderbelly, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Further information: South Bank Centre website

MONDAY 30th MAY

MAY FAYRE, ST MARY’S CHURCH HALL, THEYDON BOIS

A family fun day with a bouncy castle and children’s sideshows as well as stalls selling bric-a-brac, books and plants. There will also be a BBQ and refreshments.

Time: 11AM- 4PM
Age: All ages
Address: St Mary’s Church Hall, Piercing Hill. Theydon Bois
Further information: Call Phil or Amanda Simmance on 01992 813732

TUESDAY 31st MAY

THE NIGHT SKY FAMILY COURSE, HIGH BEECH

Over two hours children will look at models, visual demonstrations and activities to identify the difference between stars and planets, to learn our place in the universe, be able to identify useful stars and constellations and safely observe the Sun (weather permitting).

Time: 2PM- 4PM
Age: Children aged 7 and over
Tickets & booking info: £6 per person, booking required. To book call 020 8502 8500 or visit the Field Studies council website.
Address: Epping Forest Field Centre, Pauls Nursery Road, High Beech
Further information: Field Studies council website

HALF TERM HOLIDAY FUN, WOODFORD GREEN LIBRARY

Drop in for board games, puzzles and colouring with an under the sea theme.

Time: 2PM – 3PM
Age: 4 – 12 years
Tickets & booking info: Free, just turn up
Address: Woodford Green Library, Snakes Lane West, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 0DX
Further information: Woodford Green Library website

WEDNESDAY 1st JUNE

FOREST SEEDLINGS: MINI BEAST WORLD, HIGH BEECH

Creepies, crawlies, buzzers, flappers and wigglies – explore the world of mini-beasts.  Make sure to bring appropriate clothing and footwear in case the ground is muddy, and plenty of enthusiasm.

Time: 10AM – 11.15AM
Age: Suitable for children aged 18 months to four years.
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child (adults free), booking required. To book call 020 8502 8500 or visit the Field Studies council website.
Address: Epping Forest Field Centre, Pauls Nursery Road, High Beech
Further information: Field Studies council website

HALF TERM HOLIDAY FUN, SOUTH WOODFORD LIBRARY

Drop in for board games, puzzles and colouring with an under the sea theme.

Time: 2PM – 3PM
Age: 4 – 12 years
Tickets & booking info: Free, just turn up
Address: South Woodford Library, 124C High Road, South Woodford, London, E18 2QS
Further information: South Woodford Library website

THURSDAY 2nd JUNE

FOREST FAMILIES: SHIPWRECKED!, HIGH BEECH

You’re stranded on the island of Epping Forest – find the things you need to survive and follow a pirates map to escape! Make sure to bring appropriate clothing and footwear in case the ground is muddy, and plenty of enthusiasm.

Time: 10AM – MIDDAY
Age: Suitable for children aged 5-11 years
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child (adults £2 each), booking required. To book call 020 8502 8500 or visit the Field Studies council website.
Address: Epping Forest Field Centre, Pauls Nursery Road, High Beech
Further information: Field Studies council website

MEET THE GRUFFLO, WANSTEAD LIBRARY

Get set to meet the terrifying Gruffly in this fun filled workshop designed to develop literacy skills through rhyme and description.

Time: 1.30PM – 2.30PM
Age: 5 – 7 years
Tickets & booking info: Book in advance at the library
Address: Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, London, E11 2RQ
Further information: Wanstead Library website

ASTROSAURS, WANSTEAD LIBRARY

Design your own alien and help the characters complete their mission.

Time: 3.30PM – 4.30PM
Age: 6 – 9 years
Tickets & booking info: Book in advance at the library
Address: Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, London, E11 2RQ
Further information: Wanstead Library website

FRIDAY 3rd JUNE

MEET THE GRUFFLO, SOUTH WOODFORD LIBRARY

Get set to meet the terrifying Gruffly in this fun filled workshop designed to develop literacy skills through rhyme and description.

Time: 1.30PM – 2.30PM
Age: 5 – 7 years
Tickets & booking info: Book in advance at the library
Address: South Woodford Library, 124C High Road, South Woodford, London, E18 2QS
Further information: South Woodford Library website

ASTROSAURS, SOUTH WOODFORD LIBRARY

Design your own alien and help the characters complete their mission.

Time: 3.30PM – 4.30PM
Age: 6 – 9 years
Tickets & booking info: Book in advance at the library
Address: South Woodford Library, 124C High Road, South Woodford, London, E18 2QS
Further information: South Woodford Library website

WATER FUN FESTIVAL, VICTORIA PARK

To celebrate the reopening of the Pools Playground for the summer, join the Community Park Rangers for an afternoon of water filled fun.

Time: MIDDAY – 3PM
Age: All ages
Tickets & booking info: No need to book, just turn up
Address: Pools Playground, Victoria Park, Grove Road, London E3 5TB
Further information: Tower Hamlets website

KIDS COOKERY DEMO, LEVI ROOTS CARIBBEAN SMOKEHOUSE, WESTFIELD STRATFORD

Levi Roots is opening his kitchen to share the joys of Caribbean cooking. This special event will take them on a cookery adventure through the Caribbean, discovering the local fruit and vegetables and showing them how simple ingredients can be turned into something really FABULICIOUS! The session will involve a tour of Levi’s kitchen and a cookery demonstration. The children will be able to sample the delights of Levi’s cooking and will receive a signed picture and goody bag.

Time: 9.30AM – 11AM
Age: Suitable for children aged 7-11 years
Tickets & booking info: £5 per child (accompanying adults free), booking required. Tickets are non-refundable. Book tickets via the Eventbrite website.
Address: Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse, Westfield Shopping Centre, 103 The Street, Westfield Stratford City, E20 1EJ
Further information: Westfield website

Review: Pelican Playground, Chigwell

boy on wooden pirate ship, Pelican Playground Chigwell Essex

I almost don’t want to review this playground because I love it and I don’t want it to become too busy! But I realise that is selfish and not in the spirit of why this blog was set up. So if you haven’t been before the Pelican playground in Chigwell, or ‘pirate ship playground’ as we call it, is a lovely spot for young children and really comes into its own now that the weather is warming up. It’s also excellent for parents as it is relatively small and enclosed so you can relax knowing that they can’t run off too far!

boy on wooden, Pelican Playground Chigwell Essex

The kids playground is basically a giant sandpit so perfect when the weather is good (best avoided when it is wet and squelchy though). Even without all the great equipment a bucket and spade or digger toy for the sand usually keeps the little ones occupied for a while. The equipment is lovely though, beautifully built wooden structures  – a pirate ship with ropes and a slide, small wooden houses, swings, springers, stepping stone logs and some beautiful living willow tunnels which my son loves. There’s a fence running around the outside which is very useful and means you don’t have to panic about the children escaping. There’s a grassy area around the edge of the equipment for running about with benches and picnic benches for a packed lunch or mums to relax on. There isn’t a cafe on site so you will need to bring any food and drink with you.

wooden playhouse, Pelican Playground Chigwell Essex

The small car park is right next to the play area and is free. A short walk away is the Grange Farm Centre where you can find the nearest toilet and they also hold regular baby and toddler classes there. These include Creative Monkeys and Sing and Sign on Fridays (See my Local Friday Baby and Toddler classes page for more details). And across the lane is Chigwell Meadows, a lovely parkland walk which has hard pavements so it’s perfect for a buggy in all weathers or little ones on a bike or scooter. I’d definitely recommend it for a little walk.

Pelican Playground Chigwell Essex

Address: Grange Farm Lane (off High Rd), Chigwell, IG7 6DP

More information: Pelican Playground websiteGrange Farm Centre website

What’s on in West Essex this early May Bank Holiday weekend: Saturday 30th April – Monday 2nd May

I love it when the May bank holidays come around as it means that Spring is well and truly on its way, and then hopefully Summer is not too far behind. Here’s some inspiration for local activities for children in West Essex including Wanstead, Chigwell and Epping as well as lots going on in central London especially at the Southbank Centre.

RUSSELLS INTERNATIONAL CIRCUS, WANSTEAD FLATS

Performers from Russells International Circus

Roll up, roll up the circus is coming to town. There’ll be acts from the Romanian State Circus, a motor bike on a high wire and stars all the way from Cuba.

Groupon currently have 60% off tickets via the Groupon website.

Dates: Wednesday 27th April – Monday 3rd May
Times: Various depending on the day, see Russells Circus website for more details
Tickets: Adults £14-18, Child £12- 16 or try Groupon for discounted tickets
Address: Wanstead Flats, Capel Rd, London E11 2LT
Further information: Russells Circus website

THE WONDERCRUMP WORLD OF ROALD DAHL, SOUTHBANK CENTRE WATERLOO

THE WONDERCRUMP WORLD OF ROALD DAHL

Did you know that Roald Dahl used to be a spy? And also a fighter pilot, inventor and historian of chocolate? Learn all about the beloved children’s author at this interactive exhibition at the Southbank Centre and find out what inspired his famous characters and stories. The tour features unique items from the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre archives and interactive installations to spark the imagination.

Recommended for ages 7 – 12. Exhibition content is unsuitable for younger children.

Dates: All weekend
Times: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 6pm (every 15 minutes), Monday  11am – 3pm (every hour)
Tickets: £10/11 Adult, £8/9 child
Address: Spirit Level at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Further information: Southbank Centre Website

CANALWAY CAVALCADE, LITTLE VENICE

London’s biggest waterside festival takes place every year over the early May Bank Holiday weekend and has been running in Little Venice since 1983.

You can look at the decorated boats in the pool, or watch a Punch & Judy show in Rembrandt Gardens. As well as boating competitions and parades, there will be lots of activities to keep the children amused. Visit the tasty selection of food stalls, see what’s on offer at the real-ale bar, or peruse the stalls selling the weird and the wonderful.

Dates: Saturday 30 April – Monday 2 May
Times: Opening ceremony from 2pm on Saturday, activity times vary, final procession 3pm on Monday. See festival website for further details
Tickets: Free
Address: Little Venice is the junction of the Regent’s Canal and the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal. Find directions here on the festival website.
Further information: IWA Canalway Cavalcade festival website

SWAINES GREEN MAY FAYRE, EPPING

On Saturday, you can visit this traditional fayre is set in woodland which features fun for all the family. Highlights include donkey rides, Punch and Judy, circus skills, traditional crafts, children’s games, animals, barbecue, beer tent, teas and coffee.

Dates: Saturday 30th April
Times: 11am – 5pm
Tickets: Free admission
Address: Swaines Green May Fayre, Swaines Green, Lower Swaines, Epping (entrance through the recreation ground)
Further information: Swaines Green website

EXPERIENCE AFRICA! FAMILY DAY, WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY, WALTHAMSTOW

The William Morris Gallery hosts monthly family days and this Saturday will be a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Africa. Create a Tanzanian Tinga-tinga, make a giant map of Africa and handle real objects from Kenya brought to us by the Ken100 project. In partnership with African Diaspora Kids. It’s a drop in event suitable for all ages.

Dates: Saturday 30th April
Times: 1pm – 4pm
Tickets: Free admission
Address: William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP
Further information: William Morris Gallery website

OAE TOTS MUSIC CONCERT, SOUTHBANK CENTRE WATERLOO

On Sunday, I’d recommend a trip to the Southbank for one of the OAE’s brilliant music concerts for under-6s. So far we’ve been to two and our almost 3 year old loves them as he really enjoys music and loves seeing a love orchestra. The concerts are geared up for kids and we’ve always had a great time. The music performance is 45 minutes long and is very interactive. These concerts usually sell out so there are currently only tickets left for the choir seats.

You can read my review of a previous OAE concert here on the blog.

Dates: Sunday 1st May
Times: 10.30am & 12 noon
Tickets: Returns or choir seats only, under 16 £1, adults £9
Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Further information: Southbank Centre website

JAPAN FESTIVAL FOR FAMILIES

This Japanese Festival for Children at the V&A museum is suitable for the whole family and features lots of free activities throughout the day. You can listen to traditional storytelling and music, make mini banners and origami shapes, watch traditional puppets, try your hand at manga drawing and digital creations.

 

Dates: Sunday 1st May
Times: 11am – 5pm
Tickets: Free, drop in sessions
Address: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Further information: Victoria & Albert Museum website

FAMILY FUN DAY, CHIGWELL VILLAGE GREEN

This fun day for the whole family has a bouncy castle, face-painting, stalls, a coconut shy, cake stalls and more. Arena displays will include a dog show, Tai Chi display and kids races amongst other things. There’ll be refreshments in the form of a BBQ, Cake stall, beer , tea and Pimms tents.

Dates: Monday 2nd May
Times: From midday onwards
Tickets: Free entry
Address: Chigwell Village Green, opposite Brook Parade, High Road, Chigwell

SHLOMO’S BEATBOX ADVENTURE FOR KIDS

SHLOMO'S BEATBOX ADVENTURE FOR KIDS

On Bank Holiday Monday, join Shlomo a world record-breaking beatboxer who makes all kinds of music using just his mouth and a mic.

Join this sonic superhero and become one of his sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music, whether you’re aged one or 101.

Suitable for all ages.

Dates: Monday 2nd May
Times: 12.30pm & 3.30pm
Tickets: £10, Sirloin seats £15, family ticket (for four people) £32
Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Further information: Southbank Centre website

 

 

 

 

Wanstead Park bluebells in full bloom

Today was one of those perfect Spring days, a bit of a nip in the air but warm and full of the promise of summer when the sun is on your face. I’ve been meaning to visit Wanstead Park in the last few weeks as I knew it was coming up to bluebell season and I didn’t want to miss the flowers at their best. Wanstead Park has a reputation for having one of the best displays in the area. The ones in our garden and by the roadside seemed to be doing well so I was hopeful the ones in Wanstead Park would all be out too.

bluebells in bloom Wanstead park

And they didn’t disappoint. The bluebell woods are in full bloom at the moment, which I think is slightly earlier than usual, so I’d recommend getting down there as soon as possible while they are looking and smelling amazing. In a week or so they are usually not just starting to fade, but the hordes of people trampling through the woods often means that lots are flattened as well.

The bluebells are in Chalet Wood, near The Temple, and easily accessible from Warren Road on the Wanstead side of the park. You can park for free along Warren Road and there are usually lots of spaces, we managed to get a spot even though it was super busy. Then if you follow Warren Road down to the end where it meets the edge of the park and take the main path, you’ll see the entrance to the bluebell woods on your right. The paths are a bit bumpy and muddy but you should be able to get a buggy down there at the moment.

And if it’s your first visit to Wanstead Park, I’d thoroughly recommend stopping off at the little tea hut called Wanstead Park Kiosk that is next to Heronry and Perch ponds. They do one of the best Mr Whippy style ice creams around in a variety of sizes. And they have home made cakes and sandwiches as well as tea and coffee in proper mugs which are all pretty reasonable. And you can sit on one of the benches watching the ducks while you eat.

boy looking at bluebells in bloom Wanstead park

For more information and a map visit the Wanstead Park website.